Charleston:Sania Mirza put up a spirited challenge against multiple Grand Slam winner and second seed Venus Williams before going down in a tough three-setter in the second round of the USD one million WTA Family Circle Cup here.
The Indian ace, fresh after her doubles title win at a Florida WTA event last week, fought valiantly against Venus but ran out of steam as the world number five American used her experience to pocket the encounter 1-6 6-3 2-6.
The match, however, started on an expected note with Venus coming out all guns blazing against Sania. The American won nine of the first 11 games to race on to a 6-1, 3-1 lead.
Down by a set and break in the second, Sania made a remarkable comeback into the match with the help of her monstrous forehand.
She took seven of the next nine games to win the second set 6-3 and then take a 2-1 in the third.
But from there on, Venus utilised her experience and capitalised on the Indian's unforced errors to force her way back into the match and went on a roll, taking five straight games to seal the victory.
After registering the win, Venus credited Sania for her braveheart display and said the Indian had a lot of potential.
"It's always fun out there. These kinds of matches are good to pull out. It was a great opening round, and now I'm ready for the next one," she said.
"Sania has a lot of talent and a lot of power, and she uses it to her advantage. She was really going for it and she had nothing to lose. But I've been in these situations before, and I've come through," she added.
Venus will next take on 16th seed German Sabine Lisicki, who prevailed over qualifier Lenka Wienerova 6-4 6-3 in another second round match.